• One owner from new until 2016
• Recent body overhaul and respray
• New master cylinder and full service
• Incredible original interior
1959 was a hugely significant year for the British motor industry – in particularly the small car market.
Perhaps the most famous new car launched that year was the British Motor Corporation’s new Austin or Morris Mini, a car that needs no introduction. But it also saw the launch of two other new cars from major rivals.
One of these was the Ford Anglia and the other was the Triumph Herald, built just up the road from the Mini in Coventry.
At the time, the Standard-Triumph Motor Company was one of BMC’s main rivals so it would become kind of ironic that, just a few years later, it too was sucked into the BMC empire.
Despite this, Triumph maintained its own identity all the way through the 1960s and 1970s as the Herald sold in direct competition with many of BMC’s other cars.
In October 1967, the Herald range was even updated with the introduction at the London Motor Show of the Herald 13/60, which stood for 1300cc/60bhp.
This last iteration at the Herald – which had a new finned bonnet and an upgraded interior - was also the best and continued until 1971 when it was replaced with the substantially more modern Dolomite.
Amazingly, this Herald spent the first 48 years of its life with the same owner and only passed into the hands of the current keeper in 2016.
It has spent most of his life in and around north London and its mileage remained low because the original owner was a keen motorcyclist who only used the car on days where the bike wouldn’t do.
The second owner has used it only occasionally since, and earlier this year decided that it deserved a sympathetic restoration. This included some relatively minor repairs to the underbody and an external respray, but he has gone to great lengths to keep it as original as possible in all of these respects.
The low ownership is backed up by the V5C in the name of the vendor, which shows just one previous owner beforehand.
Also provided with the car are a receipt totalling £3,500 for work carried out earlier this year on the bodywork, including the respray and underseal, as well as a new clutch and master cylinder.
There are also a selection of books and manuals provided with it including an original owner’s manual and a car pass from a Triumph owners event over 30 years ago!
Finished in Glacier White, the Herald is a smart looking car and the overall paint finish is very good indeed, though there are a couple of tiny areas of overspray on the tyres and inner wheel arches that the next owner may wish to tidy up a little bit.
The quality of the paint is excellent and all of the original trim has been preserved. It will be up to the next owner whether or not to restore or keep the trim as it is, for there is some tarnishing to the badges and chrome wheel trims. The vendor has kept these as they for reasons of originality and the fact that they lend an authentic patina, but they are easily sourced should you wish to replace them. The wheels were refurbished at the same time as the bodywork.
During the car’s recent refurbish, a lot of attention was paid to the underside and the separate chassis is in good order - critically, the chassis outriggers are in solid condition, which is one of the most important structural checks on any Triumph Herald.
At the same time as the respray was carried out, the chassis was fully rustproofed and undersealed to preserve it for the car’s next owner.
One of the absolute keys to this car’s appeal is its cabin, which is absolutely glorious. The red vinyl seats and door cards are in lovely condition, as is the wooden dashboard.
There’s some wear to the carpet where it covers the transmission tunnel, but this adds rather than detracts from the car as it adds provenance to its overall originality.
The dials and instruments are gloriously simple – a two-dial instrument pack and a bank of rocker switches, but with typically upmarket Triumph quality. Even after 53 years, this car still feels tight and well made, with a great driving position and a stubby gear lever, all simply and easily laid out.
One particular charming touch is the inside of the boot lid, which is decorated with souvenir stickers from 1970s motorcycle events attended by the original owner.
With the later 1,296cc engine under the forward-tilting bonnet, the 13/60 is quite a lively little car – though it’s not one you want to press on hard in, as the transverse rear leaf spring and swing axle can easily catch out the less wary of drivers.
It runs beautifully, with a cheeky raspberry-blowing note from the exhaust and a steady, even idle once warm.
We were able to conduct a short test drive and can confirm that it’s really good fun – the gearshift is excellent, the steering and brakes fairly precise and the Herald’s ability to almost turn in its own axis when manoeuvring is something that never fails to entertain. It’s quite a usable vehicle considering its age, and a terrific opportunity for someone to have a classic that’s ready to just jump in and enjoy.
With its low ownership, known history, charming patina and wonderful originality, this is a great example of a late Herald and a car that’s ready to show, use or enjoy.
It’s a lovely old thing, and it’s brimming with charm.
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